Thursday, 31 July 2008

A shared language

Nice post from MT today on 'one tango'.

I'm a big believer in one tango. Tango is tango. The proof of this, imo, is that we're all able to dance with each other! If I got up and tried to follow a salsa dancer or a swing dancer I wouldn't have a clue what to do. I can't understand them - we speak different languages. But any kind of tango dancer can lead or follow any other, because we're all speaking the same language. We may have different accents; sometimes our accents may be sufficiently different that we have to make an effort to understand each other, to tune in our tango 'ear', and of course we dance more easily with those with a similar accent. Sometimes our vocabularies vary too. You say freeway, I say motorway, you say ride, I say lift. But it's still the same language. We still understand each other.

We're all creating our little tango-poems with our shared language, even if our accents and vocabularies vary. And it seems to me that if you avoid talking with someone just because they have a different accent, you're going to miss out on lots of interesting ideas and beautiful poems.


Mtnhighmama said...

Lovely post. And true. It certainly cuts through the sh*t.

Psyche said...

Thank you! I'm glad you approve.

msHedgehog said...

Actually you almost certainly would be able to follow a good swing, jive, or ceroc lead, because if there's one thing tango teaches you, it's how to follow. I have personally tried this, and it works surprisingly well. Salsa is a little harder because it's faster and you have to know to do "right-left-right-pause-left-right-left-pause" and just keep it going. But knowing that, and no more, I can get by; and rumba and merengue are the same thing, slower.

But, if anything, this strengthens your point.

Psyche said...

I have tried both salsa and lindy, when enthusiastic people dragged me onto the floor post-milonga, but really couldn't follow. I found I could usually tell where they wanted me to go more or less when they were doing simple underarm turns, but not when or how, and there appeared to be no logic to what they were doing with their feet at all!

msHedgehog said...

That could be because there's a specific, repetitive, base footwork pattern that's assumed and isn't led - at least in salsa.

I salsa very badly - I can keep the footwork going up to a point, but I completely lose it in the spins because I haven't had enough practice.